Wednesday, 5 August 2015

CD Review: Zorro (Original Cast Recording)

“Djobi djoba
Cada dia te quiero mas"

2008 musical Zorro lasted nine months in the West End, which may not seem a fantastic run but in retrospect, it lasted longer than From Here To Eternity, Stephen Ward, I Can't Sing...any number of big musicals. Written by Stephen Clark and Helen Edmundson from Isabel Allende's origin story, the tale positions the pulp legend as a folk hero and romantic lead, and is aided in the task by a highly atmospheric score from the Gipsy Kings and John Cameron.

Recorded live, the score has a slight feel of probably being much more fun to experience live than simply listening to in your living room. the flamenco rumba of the instrumentals impressively played but would be unquestionably improved with its accompanying choreography. So too the set pieces of pre-existing Gipsy Kings tracks Bamboléo and Djobi Djoba - both led by a fiercely charismatic Lesli Magherita - being exhorted to "baila, baila" just doesn't quite work on record. 

And to be honest, I wasn't much of a fan of Matt Rawle's titular masked hero, his voice just doesn't really do it for me and slightly oddly for a lead, he's only got the one ok-ish solo number here in 'Hope', albeit reprised later on. The cast recording's trump card though is a glorious performance from Emma Williams as Luisa, Zorro's childhood love who grows to love the man both with and without the mask.

The tender emotion of 'Falling' is my favourite track, as Williams' wonderfully clear vocal interplays with a Spanish guitar and as her feelings intensifies, so does the music and her singing - just gorgeous. And 'The Man Behind The Mask' mines a similar vein with its more traditional ballad stylings no less heartfelt for being a tad more predictable. Worth the purchase for 'Falling' alone? I'd say so, you might be surprised by the rest too. 

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